‘Caesar’ or ‘Cesar Salad’: Which One Is It?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on May 12, 2023

Are you planning on ordering a salad soon and wondering whether 'Caesar' or 'Cesar Salad' is correct? I can help!

In this guide, you will find grammar tips, definitions, pronunciations, and examples, to help you remember which term to use at your favorite Italian restaurant. There is a quick answer if you prefer that.

So, are you in a rush? 

If so, here is the short version of the answer: 

  • 'Caesar' is the correct name for the popular salad.
  • 'Cesar Salad' is a spelling error or sometimes a play on words used on menus at restaurants serving Mexican or Spanish cuisine.

The basic answer will help you order the correct meal, but this lesson on spelling is interesting. So, keep reading!

Which is Correct, 'Caesar' or 'Cesar Salad?'

As I mentioned above, there are times when you may see 'Caesar' or 'Cesar salad' on a menu.

  • The correct spelling is 'Caesar salad.'

However, occasionally, you may see restaurants call their version a 'Cesar,' especially if it has some Hispanic flare. For example, if the dressing was made with avocados and jalapeno cheese croutons.

Why is 'Caesar Salad' Correct?

This is where it gets interesting. The 'Caesar salad' shares its name with the Italian man who invented it:

Caesar Cardini.

  • Some people believe that people use 'Cesar' because the dish was created in Mexico.

They are half right. Caesar Cardini made his famous appetizer in Mexico. The successful immigrant restauranteur owned and operated Italian eateries in Tijuana, Mexico, and the United States during the 1920s.

  • He sold his culinary creation at his restaurants, and it quickly became one of the most popular salads in the world.

To this day, it is offered in most U.S. restaurants, and you can purchase Caesar Cardini's Original Caesar Dressing at your local grocery store.

Definition of 'Caesar Salad'

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'Caesar salad' is a noun or proper name defined as:

  • A salad tossed with a dressing made with anchovies, dijon mustard, egg, lemon juice, olive oil, and crushed garlic and topped with croutons and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

There are no alternate definitions or synonyms for 'Caesar' salad because it is the proper name of something.

However, there are a few related terms, including:

  • Cesarean
  • Bloody Caesar
  • Cesarean Birth
  • Caesar Augustus
  • Rule of Caesar

How to Properly Capitalize 'Caesar Salad'

You can apply the information about properly capitalizing this term to others. So, pay close attention.

The correct capitalization is:

  • Caesar salad

'Caesar' is capitalized because it is the proper name of the salad. Salad is not a proper name, so you do not capitalize it.

For example, you could write:

Please let me know your salad selection. Do you want the 'Caesar salad' or the chicken salad?

You only capitalize both words in the term if you are using it in a title. In the title case, both words are capitalized because 'salad' is a noun with more than four letters.

Other Proper Food Names

  • Scotch whiskey
  • Italian sausage
  • Mexican rice
  • Dutch egg
  • Italian-style meatballs
  • Waldorf salad
  • Little Smokey or Lil Smokey sausages
  • Little Debbie cakes

As you can see from the examples above, you capitalize the names of countries, proper names, companies, or a person's name given to a dish but not the actual food.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Caesar' or 'Cesar Salad'

Even though the correct name is 'Caesar salad,' we will review how you pronounce both versions. You know, just in case you go to a restaurant where they call it a 'Cesar.' Pronunciation of 'Caesar' can be confusing and lead to the name's frequent misspelling.

So, follow this pronunciation guide to learn how to say it correctly.

  • Use this phonetic spelling of 'Caesar Salad':

                    SEE-zr sal-ed

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'Cesar Salad':

                   SE-sahr sal-ed

As you can see, there is a slight difference in the pronunciation of 'Caesar' and 'Cesar.'

Examples of 'Caesar' or 'Cesar Salad' Used in a Sentence

Below are examples of both versions of the term. Remember that the proper name is 'Caesar salad.'

Caesar Salad

  • The Caesar salad they serve is the best in town. They even make the authentic Caesar dressing tableside.
  • Which will you choose if you have the option of the Waldorf salad or the classic Caesar salad?
  • I ate the Caesar salad there, but it wasn't my favorite.
  • If you can't find anything on the menu that you want to try, go with a chicken Caesar salad.
  • I do not know how to make a Caesar salad. However, I am more than happy to make one for you if you give me instructions.
  • Are you finished baking the croutons for our Caesar salads?
  • To make an authentic Caesar salad, you have to add anchovies. Most people do not even know they are in the dressing.
  • Classic Caesar salads are a dime a dozen.
  • I would like to place an order for one large Caesar salad with dressing and chicken on the side.

Cesar Salad

  • Only one restaurant in town serves a Cesar salad.
  • The Cesar salad is the Mexican restaurant's spin on the famous Caesar salad.
  • Have you ever tried this restaurant's version of the Caesar? It is right here on the first page, the Cesar salad.
  • The avocado Cesar dressing complements the salad just as well as the traditional 'Caesar' recipe.

A Final Word On Whether it is 'Caesar' or 'Cesar Salad'

The next time you send an email asking your co-worker if they want to share a salad, you won't have to guess between 'Caesar' and 'Cesar salad.'

To recap: 

  • 'Caesar' is the correct name of the salad. 
  • The 'Caesar salad' shares its name with Caesar Cardini, the Italian immigrant who created it. 
  • 'Cesar salad' is usually a spelling error.
  • Restaurants serving Mexican and Spanish cuisine sometimes use 'Cesar salad' instead as a play on words.

If the proper name or others stump you in the future, you can always come here for a quick lesson. You can also read the other guides here to learn important English language mechanics, increase your vocabulary, and improve your grammar skills.

The confusing words section contains guides like this with usage tips, definitions, sample sentences, and correct spellings. So, they help you to gain a comprehensive understanding of some of the most challenging words.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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